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(if I may so speak) is the Perfection ofSErM. Folly* Nevertheless, because even of This, XVII. there are Differences and Degrees; and of ^f*** the Mockers here spoken of by the Wise Man, there are Diverse kinds; I shall therefore in the following Discourse indeavour briefly, but distinctly, to show, iff, What is meant more particularly\ by ma~ king a Mock at Sin, idly, Upon what grounds or reasons, Men are tempted to be guilty of the several degrees of This Vicej and %dly, How weak all those Grounds really are, and how great the Folly of Acting upon them.
I. I N the First place, as to the explication of the Phrase, making a Mock at Sin; there are three sorts of Sinners, who, in their several Degrees, may justly be charged with This Guilt. Of the
ijl, and highest Degree, are those whom I have partly already described, who esteem it a piece of Courage to despise all Religion, and a Greatness of Mind to deride all the Obligations of Virtue. These are the Persons the Pfalmist means, when he elegandy rises by Steps in his description of Sinners, from the lowest degree
S1 R M. of Wickedness to the highest; Ps. i. 1. XVII. Blessed is the man, that hath not walked in ^SV^ the Counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way os Sinners, and hath not fat in the Seat of the Scornful. The Scornful, are those whom the Prophet Jeremy represents under the fame Character, and in the Use of the same word, as the Wife Man in the Text, J er. xv. 17. sat not in the AJjembly of the Mockers. To sit (the word used both by Jeremiah and by the Psalmist,) signifies a sxt, determinate, se' cure, resolute establishment in a Habit of Wickedness; whereas walking, or sanding, in the way of Sinners, represents only particular wicked Actions. And the Seat of the Scornful, ( which is the Psalmist'% phrase,) signifies the Highest Power and Dominion of Impiety. Just as our Saviour in the Revelations, elegantly describes the Tyranny of the Antichristian Church, by calling it The Throne of Satan; Rev. ii. 13. 1 know thy works, and where thou dwellefi, even where Satan's Seat, (in the Original it is, where Satan's Throne) is. The Persons who, in This fense, make a Mock at Sin, are the
theisis, theifis, and the openly Profane; ThoseSerm. who think it Wit, to turn the most seri- XVII. ous matters into Ridicule; and commit */r*v*>*J the most unjust and unrighteous Actions, without Any reluctancy or Abhorrence. These are the Persons whom Solomon describes, Prov. x. 23. It is as Sport to a Fool, to do Mischief; and ch. xxvi. 18. As a Mad-man who casteth Firebrands, Arrows and Death j so is the Man that deceiveth his Neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport? The same fort of Persons, are in the New Testament mentioned by St Jude, ver. 17. of his Epistle; Remember, faith he, the words which were spoken before of the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, how they told you there should be Mockers in the last time, who flould walk after their own ungodly Lusts.
They who think it an Objection against the Truth of Christianity, that there should be found, even in the World that calls itself Christian, so much Open Profaneness and Impiety as there is; may do well to observe, how distinctly these things are foretold in the New Testament; and consequently that the Fulfilling of Szkm. them is not an Argument against, but a XVII. strong Evidence for, the truth of revealed V/VN/Religion.
zdly, The next fort of Sinners, who may justly be charged with making a Mock at Sin, are thole, who do not indeed in Words, like Those before-mentioned; but yet, in their Actions, do equally bring Contempt upon Religion. In their ProfeJJion they pretend to believe in God, but their Practice is the lame with that of Atheists and Infidels. These are elegantly described by St Paul, Tit. i. 16, They profess, that they know God; hut in Works they deny him; being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good -work reprobate. This practical Insult upon religion, This Contempt of Virtue and Goodness in mens Lives and Actions, is as really in the Sight of God, though not so offensively in the Eye of the World, a making a Mock at Sin, in the Sense of the Text; as the most profane Speeches even of professed Atheists.
idly, To make a Mock at Sin, may, in the last place, signify, entertaining so flight an Opinion of the Evil and Danger ger of Sin, as makes men who are notS E R M. entirely profligate, yet content themselves XVII. with distant resolutions of future Re-,>/"v~SJ pentance, and in^the mean time speak Peace to themselves in the Practice of Unrighteousness, or in the Injoyment of unlawful Pleasures. This may properly enough be called, though not in so high a sense as the forementioned Instances, a making a Mock at Sin. "Tis a seeming to be afraid of it, and yet not really abhorring it. 'Tis entring voluntarily into the Snare of the Devil, and yet not daring to resolve to continue in it. 'Tis running into a Danger, with a Design to come out of it again; as a Bird hasteth to the Snare, and knoweth not that it is for his Life. In a word; 'tis playing with the Instruments of Death, and sporting with Destruction: for want of seriously and in earnest considering, what a dreadful thing it is to fall into the hands of the Living God, whose Wrath is a consuming Fire. The Description of Ltviathan in the Book of fob, ch. xli. 5, may very naturally be applied to This Purpose; Wilt thou play with him as 'with a Bird? «r wilt thou